As we prepare to enter into the season of fall, you or a loved one may also be preparing to enter into the next season of life. For some, this may include retirement living, and for others, they may be looking at assisted living or in-home care options. Wherever you or your loved one are at in the aging journey, Lincoln has many wonderful resources available to help the seniors in our community continue to live comfortably and joyfully.
Affordable Home Care
Caring Friends In Home Care (caringfriendsinhomecare.com) provides cost effective, personalized, non-medical in-home care and services in 43 counties throughout Nebraska. They charge a flat, hourly rate, and don’t charge you for travel time or mileage. That’s because they recruit caregivers that are in their client’s area. Caring Friends’ minimum length of visit is one hour in order to assist clients in obtaining necessary services while keeping costs within their budget. Each of the 43 counties they serve has an assigned site coordinator and case manager that oversee the needs and services of every client. Their services include housekeeping, laundry, meal preparation, personal care services, medication reminders, companion/social visits, and transportation.
“Caring Friends can assist in designing individualized plans of care and services that meet the individual’s needs,” shared Virginia Cole, COO. “If those needs change and require medical services or services beyond our scope, we have community organizations that we can partner with to ensure a continuum of care. If the individual or their family makes the decision that it is time to relocate to a different setting for care, Caring Friends will follow the individual in their new setting to assist in making the transition more comfortable.”
Caring Friends provides social outings for their clients, including appointments, family gatherings, county fairs, movies, visits to the senior center, and much more based on client preference. Not only are Caring Friends’ services beneficial to an aging loved one, but also to their caregiver. Caring Friends offers consistent or respite relief, which is essential for one’s mental health by giving them the ability to step away for appointments, shopping, relaxation, etc. Caring Friends also provides caregiver education to assist in maintaining quality services, even in their absence.
“The leadership of Caring Friends has over 100 years of combined senior care experience,” said Virginia. “At the end of the day, our goal is to help individuals keep their independence – sometimes, all you need is a little assistance from a friend with the value of excellence at home!”
The Physical and Social Benefits of Assisted Living
The Waterford Communities (thewaterford.net) is comprised of three different senior living homes: Williamsburg Campus and College View Campus, both of which are assisted living communities, and Wilderness Hills Memory Care. Each home provides a high staff-to-resident ratio, daily home-cooked meals, regular housekeeping, and security, among other features to give you peace of mind. We spoke to Dan Klein at The Waterford, who shared with us some of the benefits of choosing assisted living.
“Many families realize that their parents and grandparents simply need more support than they can easily provide. Unfortunately, there’s only so much one person can do before their own quality of life begins to suffer severely,” shared Dan. “Assisted living communities and their staff act like an extension of your family. They step up to fill in the gap between ‘need’ and ‘ability’ that arises as our loved ones age. The truth is everyday life tends to become more difficult throughout retirement, especially when living alone, managing a specialized diet, or suffering from chronic illnesses.”
Assisted living communities offer physical benefits as they help to significantly relieve the burden presented by aging bodies. They aim to minimize falls, emphasize mobility and accessibility, and support their residents’ independent movements by installing sloped ramps, hand railings, raised commodes, walk-in showers, and bathroom grab bars. Proper senior nutrition is another big benefit of assisted living. Ensuring seniors receive enough key vitamins and minerals each day to support their health is always a top priority of The Waterford Communities.
“Social connection is another benefit of assisted living communities, and they make a tremendous effort to stave off social isolation in seniors,” said Dan. “They encourage residents to socialize by providing many opportunities to take part in various group activities, such as movie nights, card and board games, book clubs, art and music groups, and crafting sessions. If your family member is feeling isolated or in need of support with everyday activities, then we hope you’ll reach out to learn more about our assisted living options. We’re certain they’ll feel right at home in one of our communities.”
When people think about home care, they typically think of needing help with showering and dressing, toileting, meal preparation, medication reminders, and other daily living needs for their loved one. While Visiting Angels (visitingangels.com) does all of those things, one of the greatest benefits they offer is the companion piece their caregivers add to the daily lives of their clients.
“Mealtime is crucial. When a family member tells me mom isn’t eating well and is losing too much weight, I like to ask them what a typical meal looks like for them,” advised Julie Day, client care coordinator. “Mealtime in my family is a social event, and personally, I don’t care to eat all by myself. If a client is having a meal while we are there, we encourage our caregivers to bring a snack so they can sit down with their client while they eat. I have had countless families tell me that their mom or dad is eating better now that they have a companion during that time.”
Julie explained that it’s common for clients to add extra time to their shifts for socialization. This is a great opportunity for a senior to bond with their caregiver. Even if a client has a spouse who lives with and cares for them, it is beneficial to have another individual they look forward to seeing and interacting with. Plus, this allows the spouse to step away and do some things they may need to do.
“Being a caretaker can take a toll on you,” said Julie. “Whether you are just stopping in to see your loved one several times per week or if you live together full-time, you have a lot on your plate. Having a Visiting Angel helps caretakers equally as much as their loved one who is receiving the care. Any time we spend with a client is extra time their family gets to once again be a spouse, a daughter or son, or a friend.”
“We have all heard the saying that two things in life are certain: death and taxes. I would add aging to that equation,” Julie added. “With medical advances, people are living much longer and should certainly plan for a successful aging experience. Visiting Angels is there to assist families and put a plan in place that will ensure their safety and security while allowing them to stay in the home they love.”
Raising the Bar for 135 Years
At Immanuel (immanuel.com), they take great pride in their almost 135 years of service to seniors and their families. As a not-for-profit senior living, care, and service provider, they make business decisions based on the best interests of their residents and not the bottom line. Immanuel continually raises the bar. From property renovations and expansions, robust life enrichment and wellness programming to exceptional dining venues and recognized healthcare services, Immanuel cultivates programs and services to meet the wants and needs of those they serve rather than shareholders.
“In the Lincoln market, we serve seniors at our Landing, Grand Lodge, and Yankee Hill Village communities,” shared Connie Chisholm, director of communications. “Immanuel provides senior living options in our independent and assisted living, memory support, skilled nursing, and long-term care communities. We offer vibrant life enrichment and wellness programs; this includes happy hour socials, special interest clubs, movie nights, volunteering events, trips to art galleries, personalized exercise programs, uplifting group fitness classes, and health and wellness education. There are always opportunities to make new friends and find new passions!”
Immanuel encourages families to get a head start on researching senior living options for their aging loved one – don’t wait for a major health event to force the decision. They have even created an easy-to-use downloadable Comparison Guide (immanuel.com/love-whats-next) to help weigh the options; social and lifelong learning opportunities, robust wellness programs, dining options, and level of spiritual enrichment are all elements of a successful retirement living experience.
“Being part of a vibrant community of peers is proven to help protect against illnesses like heart disease and dementia. It’s also a lot of fun!” said Connie. “Our communities are architecturally designed to encourage social life. At Immanuel, you will find gathering spots, open-air patios, restaurants, and comfortable common areas that foster connections between residents. Come visit one of our communities today to see what it’s all about!”
ProMedica Hospice (promedicahospice.org) is a not-for-profit, mission-based organization providing quality care for patients with life-limiting illnesses. They are working to create a stronger, more cohesive approach to delivering care at the right place, right time, and right cost. We spoke to Hospice Administrator Kass Mounce, who explained to us why hospice is important and how ProMedica can offer the care your aging loved one needs.
“Hospice care is a specialized care that focuses on supporting patients and their loved ones,” explained Kass. “The emphasis is on comfort and quality of life, rather than finding a cure. Hospice care enables patients to live each day to the fullest as comfortably and dignified as possible. ProMedica Hospice has a social, clinical, and spiritual team of experts who care for patients who use a team approach to customize a care plan specific to the needs of the patients and their family.”
ProMedica Hospice agencies are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC). While the Lincoln area agency is not yet accredited by ACHC, their team is working toward and preparing for accreditation and certification. This will allow them to demonstrate their ability to meet regulatory requirements and standards established by ACHC. ProMedica is dedicated and committed to meeting those standards that exhibit a higher level of performance and patient care.
As mutual care providers, they work closely with your healthcare professionals to make sure specific protocols are followed closely. Pain and symptom management is their primary focus.
“You don’t have to give up hope to get hospice,” Kass shared. “Many patients and the loved ones who care for them say they wish hospice care had started sooner. When you need care, we’re ready to provide it; any day of the year, any time of the day, we can initiate hospice care for you or your loved one. Treatments that provide our patients with comfort and relief can continue, uninterrupted, even after we’ve started providing hospice care. Wherever you are in your health care journey, we’re there to meet you.”
Putting the Focus on Personalized Care
Nestled in the cozy, Near South neighborhood in Lincoln, Sumner Place Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation (sumnerplacecare.com) is a skilled nursing facility that offers short-term rehabilitation, memory support, and long-term care. What sets Sumner Place apart is their culture and home-like environment. Whether it is sleeping in until 10 o’clock in the morning or going on social outings in the community to the zoo, the Sunken Gardens, or bowling, Sumner Place focuses on personalized care.
“We offer many different services to benefit our residents including our restorative program, therapy programs, full-time dietician, spiritual services, rounds by our medical director, and Dreamweavers partnership, just to name a few,” said Megan Herter, admissions and public relations coordinator. “Our annual events such as Senior Prom, Dog Pageant, or the Sumner Place Picnic offer the ‘Family Serving Family’ feel that we are committed to. Sumner Place also uses Buddies Forever, which is a comprehensive dementia program. Using techniques and skills such as getting down below eye level, using simple statements, and endorphin boosts can create a foundation for person-centered care. A program that we are also certified in is Music & Memory, which taps into the long-term memory, an area of the brain unharmed by dementia. Selecting the appropriate music for each resident triggers pleasurable emotions from their past.”
Megan shared with us a few things that can increase one’s chance to live independently and safely for as long as possible. Increased socialization, availability for healthcare, routine visits to the doctor, life enrichment programs, and/or meaningful work/volunteering all contribute to improved quality of life. However, whenever the time comes for your loved one to move into a higher level of care, Sumner Place will be ready to take them in as their own.
“When visitors and family members walk through our doors, they always comment on how welcoming and inviting our facility feels,” shared Megan. “We hear people say, ‘It feels different.’ We feel different because we are different. People learn from interacting with us that they can trust us to be who we say we are and do what we say we’ll do.”
The Purpose of Planning
If you planned for your funeral and paid for it at, for example, age 35, but don’t pass away until you’re 90 – can you imagine how much you’ve saved in funeral costs? Even if you choose to pre-plan for your funeral later down the road around retirement age, you are still saving your family money for when the time actually comes. This is what Wyuka Funeral Home & Cemetery (wyuka.com) wants the community to understand.
“We offer an experienced staff of pre-need counselors to go over options and can help with purchasing of a burial space – niche for an urn. They can also help you pre-plan your funeral arrangements, taking the emotional and financial burden off of family,” shared Joseph Peck, funeral director. “Additionally, when you pre-plan your services, the prices are locked in and can never go up after that.”
The knowledge, experience, and skill that both the cemetery/pre-need counselors and funeral directors have is outstanding, and Wyuka can really guide the entire family gently throughout the process. Not only will pre-planning save your family money, but it will also allow them to grieve during a difficult time without the burden of planning a funeral and making difficult decisions.
“At our funeral home, we are not dictated by corporate ‘rule makers’; rather, we are afforded the ability to adapt to everyone’s specific requests/needs,” Joseph said. “We are really able to personalize funeral services and are proud to do so. We also offer a large, beautiful, and historic cemetery so that services may be conducted in our facility and avoid having a lengthy funeral procession, although we always welcome church-based funerals, as well. In addition, Wyuka offers an on-site reception area.”
High Standards of Senior Living
Residents of Pemberly Place (pemberlyplace.com) never spend their days in boredom or being sedentary. Rather, they have the option to stay active all week long through a variety of activities that the Pemberly Place staff work hard to provide to their residents. Some of their popular offerings include outings to restaurants and other local amenities, dance parties, fashion shows, Wine Wednesdays, the Friday Afternoon Club, baking, science experiments, and much more. They have also recently added a drum exercise class, which has been a big hit with the seniors of the community.
“To live the Pemberly Place life is to live a lifestyle entirely focused on our most important concern: YOU,” shared Sales Director Karrie Seeman. “I believe the amenities and the care we provide allow us to do just that – focus on the resident. This is how we stand out as a community and a company, and it is in our training that we learn to keep ‘the main thing’ as ‘the main thing’, and that is the residents.”
Pemberly Place offers independent living, assisted living, and memory care. They offer a beautiful theater, coffee shop, a market, a wonderful variety of activities, and garage parking. Pemberly Place has an incredible team that is always available if – and when – you need them. Furthermore, they offer individualized services to meet the ever-changing needs of their residents.
“Our leadership team is available to help residents, families, and team members through many different care levels by providing the support and education they need to be successful,” said Karrie. “Our most recent addition is the memory care support group. This is an excellent example of how we help our caretakers and families navigate through caring for a loved one with dementia.”
Earlier this year, Pemberly Place was acquired by MJ Senior Living, which is based in Wahoo. MJ Senior Living implements their high standards of senior care in each of their eight communities in Nebraska, one of which is Fallbrook Assisted Living (fallbrookassisted.com). At Fallbrook, residents continue to thrive with a caring staff that goes above and beyond to ensure they are happy and well-cared for. Staff provide meticulous attention to detail to ensure that the community truly feels like home for the residents. Comfort is key at Fallbrook, and they always want to make their residents feel as close to home as possible.
“Our team works extremely hard to keep our residents engaged,” shared Micha Ives, executive director. “Each day is filled with meaningful activities carefully planned by our life enrichment director. The staff here is expertly trained in engaging and caring for our residents. Our memory care community has several memory stations throughout to keep the residents busy and exercise their minds. In the assisted community, the activities are carefully planned to include any and all hobbies that our wide variety of residents had prior to moving in.”
When looking for a senior living community, Micha encourages you to look for that “home” feeling. This includes cleanliness, menus, and the activity calendar; they are all important factors when deciding whether the community is a good fit. One of Fallbrook’s unique offerings is their wide array of floor plans. Fallbrook’s apartments are much larger than many other area communities and come with full-size appliances, beautiful views, and ample closet space.
“At Fallbrook, we take care of not only our residents, but the caregivers, as well. After all, we want you to have the peace of mind that should come with your loved one staying in our community,” said Micha. “One of the ways that we do this is through a once-a-month dementia support group. This group was created to try to give an understanding of what dementia is and how to handle all that goes along with the disease. It is a great way for caregivers to come together and ask questions, knowing that they are not alone in this situation.”
A Continuum of Care
The senior care services offered at Tabitha (tabitha.org) aim to help older adults and their families navigate the aging journey while successfully accomplishing health and lifestyle goals. Their broad array of assistance ranges from home health care to rehabilitation therapy, assisted living and memory care communities, skilled nursing and long-term care, hospice support, and more.
“Our Senior Care Experts work with each client, as well as the client’s support system, to determine current needs and how they may evolve and change,” explained Senior Living Advocate Aubrey Paulsen. “This is done while keeping in mind the goal of providing loving, compassionate, and professional care that enhances the safety and well-being of seniors and proactively avoiding the need to make major life and health decisions during times of crisis.”
Tabitha’s GracePointe Assisted Living & Memory Care Suites offer balanced meals, engaging activity, and help with daily living activities such as bathing, medication management, and transportation. Their Nursing & Rehabilitation Center is available for seniors who are in need of full-time support due to chronic illness or disability, or for those who need nursing supervision following a hospital stay or surgery. Tabitha also has residential-style skilled nursing and long-term care homes, which are designed for seniors who are in need of full-time nursing support in a spacious, home-like setting. Finally, Tabitha’s end-of-life residential community, Journey House, is a home-like environment for seniors in need of hospice care. Their team provides pain and medical management, as well as therapies that focus on quality of life.
“No one has to do this alone,” Aubrey concluded. “We are a free, no-obligation call away, and we’ll find the right answer for you.”
Going Beyond the Standard
Senior living communities aren’t one-size-fits-all, which is why Legacy Retirement Communities (legacyretirement.com) offers four wonderful locations around Lincoln. This includes The Legacy at 56th and Pioneers; The Legacy Estates at 72nd and Van Dorn; The Legacy Terrace at 57th and Fremont; and The Legacy Arbors, also located at The Legacy Terrace campus. The Legacy Arbors is a memory care community while the other three locations offer independent and assisted living options.
“Our mission at Legacy Retirement Communities is to provide an independent lifestyle that also caters to the needs we face when we age,” shared Kyle Yates, senior living advisor. “Our assisted living options at each location allow us to go beyond the standard care of independent living, while still providing a comfortable living environment.”
Since the start of the pandemic, Legacy has implemented new ways to engage their residents, ensure their happiness, keep them active, and focus on their overall well-being. From building elaborate outdoor patio spaces, getting a shuffleboard table, and having Legacy’s enrichment staff engage and connect with the residents, they have opened up their routines to allow for more fun.
Kyle also touched on the topic of planning for retirement living, and how you can approach something that may come off as intimidating with all of the available options and decisions that come with them.
“Gathering information about retirement living options is something that should be done a day at a time,” Kyle explained. “Trying to learn everything at once will leave most people reaching for the headache medicine. It’s important to know what you value and hope to get out of each community you visit. Knowing what’s important to you and finding something that really aligns with your core values will leave you feeling happier with your decision.
“Our goal is to help people find the right fit,” Kyle continued. “Whether they end up at one of our communities or not, we will always serve them and help point them in the right direction. All of us at Legacy hope to continue serving each person we meet with dignity, respect, compassion, and integrity.”
Home Care and Care Management
The caregivers at Home Care Partners (homecarepartnersofnebraska.com) dedicate their professional lives to caring for others and providing them with the greatest quality of life, wherever they call home. Home care is an option for families who are looking for support and care management in their health care continuum.
“Our services give families peace of mind to allow their loved one to stay in their familiar place and avoid a move at this time,” said Managing Partner Karla Frese. “This will often allow a senior to stay in their home or in their independent or assisted living setting without the need to move to a higher level of care. Our partnerships within the healthcare community allow us to provide care together in the home setting to help reduce hospital readmissions and to promote health and healing.”
Home Care Partners offers a care manager who will help organize appointments and provide consultation, assessment, planning, and evaluation with the right professional at the right time. The care manager also supports the family by creating a plan of care, building a care team, medication management, and assistance with long-term care policies.
“The shared focus and oversight on health, home management, and maintenance keep everyone on the same page – without one person getting burned out,” explained Karla. “For example, when there are multiple appointments, a caregiver can transport mom or dad to an appointment for hearing, vision, foot care, hair, etc., and the daughter or son can save their day off for other important commitments.”
Home Care Partners invites you to reach out to them today to learn more about how their services can benefit your family.
More than Housing
When looking for independent senior-living options that include opportunities for engagement, check out the Lincoln Housing Authority (l-housing.com). They pride themselves on providing “more than housing” and nowhere is that more evident than at Burke Plaza, Crossroads House, and Mahoney Manor, where more than 270 older adults reside and have access to a wide variety of social and personal support services through the Resident Services and Congregate Housing Services programs. The foundation for the Resident Services Program is the Resident Services Specialist at each building. Their job is to provide general support to residents and offer a range of activities and programs to enhance the overall quality of life at each building. The Congregate Housing Services Program (CHSP) brings the services of two full-time social workers who share time between all buildings. These social workers are able to work with individuals who need additional supportive services such as case management, personal care, house-keeping assistance, and transportation.
Feel confident and secure in your senior living journey when you work with these reputable Lincoln organizations!